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Since the early 2000s, female entrepreneurs have made significant headway in the startup world. 

Reports show that 15 percent of early-stage investment is going to companies with a woman on the executive team. That's up from 5 percent 15 years ago. 

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor found that entrepreneurship is becoming a top career choice for a growing number of women—there were 126 million active female entrepreneurs operating businesses in 67 cities around the globe in 2012, boosting job growth in those economies. 

The local entrepreneurial scene has built its own momentum around female entrepreneurs with last year’s formation of the SoarTriangle mentorship program, the first Triangle Startup—Women and the inaugural Innovative Women's Conference at NC State, both in October 2014. 

An organization called e51 also got started in 2014. After getting dozens of women together to discuss the challenges and opportunities for female entrepreneurs, it hosted a regular CoffeeConnection meetup for women. The next phase of that happens in August, with the kickoff of a two-week bootcamp called 51 (Kăt′ l- īz′ er), which taps into this female-powered potential and has a goal of increasing diversity in startup communities around the world. 

It’s happening in partnership with Leadership exCHANGE, a company that empowers young citizens to be influential globally by running exchange programs in Panama, Prague, Rome and North Carolina. 

e51 is led by Leadership exCHANGE’s executive director, Heather McDougall, and Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network’s replication program manager, Sheryl Waddell. The women found synergy between the two organizations—both seek to build a powerful new generation of knowledgeable and talented female entrepreneurs. 

Heather McDougall and Sheryl Waddell e51 Leadership exCHANGE
Heather McDougall, left, and Sheryl Waddell, right, are co-founders of e51, a women's networking and education group in the Triangle.

51 (Kăt′ l- īz′ er) will bring together women ages 18-30 from around the world to Raleigh for courses on leadership and entrepreneurship at HQ Raleigh and one-on-one meetings with expert female mentors during and after the program, says McDougall. 

Participants will also receive tours of Triangle startups and various opportunities to network with local entrepreneurs. Partners in the program include HQ RaleighThinkHouse, the Citrix Startup Accelerator and the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Foundation. In 2016, there will be two bootcamps—in Raleigh and at Citrix’s offices in California. 

The name of the program represents the conjoining of two facets of female entrepreneurship. 

The “51” stands for the percent of the population that are women. “Women are a powerful sense of innovation, yet are currently untapped,” says McDougall. 

And Kăt′ l- īz′ er is someone who accelerates something desirable to happen, which might not have ever happened before. 

Thus, 51 (Kăt′ l- īz′ er) accelerates the next generation of women innovators. 

“It is the opportunity to bring together high caliber women from various fields and interests in an interactive and highly transformative environment,” says McDougall.

The program will take place at HQ Raleigh August 1-15 and costs $2,450. However, participants can be offered partial financial support through sponsors. 

Applications and nominations can be submitted here.